Money from states and various recycling organizations is being put toward boosting plastics collection, MRF upgrades and several other projects. | MinskDesign/Shutterstock

Clear Path Recycling, Direct Pack Recycling, Wenplastics, the Ocean Legacy Foundation, Goodwill Industries/Hydroblox and a slew of other plastics recycling companies are among the recipients of recently awarded grants. 

The following are more details on the plastics recycling grants, which came from public and private sources in recent weeks and went to organizations across North America:   

North Carolina boosts plastics recycling businesses

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on April 27 announced grants totaling nearly $443,000 to 10 businesses. 

The business development grants, which were awarded by the DEQ’s Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) and must be matched by at least 50% private funds, went to upgrade materials recovery facilities (MRFs), expand capabilities at plastics recycling companies, and more.

The three largest plastics recycling-related grants (all $60,000 each) were as follows: Clear Path Recycling, which recycles PET for use in carpet and other products, to purchase a storage silo; Direct Pack Recycling, to purchase a line to wash post-consumer PET for recycling into thermoforms; and Material Matters, to buy plastics handling equipment. 

RBAC also provided a $40,000 grant to Verity Recycling to expand its nursery pot reuse and recycling program and a $20,000 grant to R3cycle to purchase a steam boiler to remove labels and glue from PET flakes. A full list of grants is available online

“Recycling businesses play an important role in the state’s circular economy, providing high-quality jobs while simultaneously supporting North Carolina’s environmental efforts,” Elizabeth Biser, DEQ Secretary, stated in a press release. “These grants fund sustainable projects that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of diversion efforts, preventing valuable materials from ending up in landfills.”

The Recycling Partnership gives PP grants to MRFs

On April 26, The Recycling Partnership announced the award of nearly $1.2 million to MRFs around the country to help them sort and recover PP. The grants, which were awarded through the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, went to Atlantic Coast Recycling of Ocean County, N.J.; Pioneer Recycling of Clackamas, Ore.; RecycleSource of Pittsburgh; TC Recycling of Mars, Pa.; and Recology Sonoma of Sonoma, Calif. 

The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition launched in mid-2020. Its first round of grants, announced in December 2020, totaled nearly $2 million and went to four MRFs. Announced in March 2021, the second round included nearly $1 million to three MRFs. In August 2021, the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition announced its third funding round, which included $1.8 million to six MRFs. The fourth round, which totaled $1.6 million and went to seven MRFs, was announced in April 2022.

Counting the latest round, the total distributed through the program is $9 million. 

The Recycling Partnership has since rolled out a similar PET grants program, which has already started awarding funds.

“With the cutting-edge technology that is available, MRFs have the opportunity to maximize capture of recyclable materials,” Brittany LaValley, senior director of materials advancement at The Recycling Partnership, stated in a press release. “For those MRFs that have been unable to support investment, Coalition grants enable them to increase the capture of polypropylene and see a faster return on investment.”

Plastics-focused funding in Canada

The British Columbia government is putting millions more dollars into various projects to boost plastics recycling capacity in the province. 

The CleanBC Plastics Action Fund is awarding over 8 million Canadian dollars (nearly $6 million; all dollars below in U.S.) to 14 projects that touch on plastics recycling and reuse. The dollar amount is nearly twice the program’s first funding round. The CleanBC Plastics Action Fund launched in late 2020. 

The top five recycling-related grants went to the following recipients: $1 million to Wenplastics, which will boost its capacity to recycle large industrial plastic pipes by 150%; $673,000 to KC Recycling, which will purchase equipment that will allow it to recycle more PP battery cases, car seats and paint buckets; $673,000 to Vitacore, which will upgrade equipment and retrofit a building for the recycling of masks and respirators; $538,000 for Van WasteCo, which will go toward new equipment to boost its ability to recycle post-consumer plastic; and $429,000 to the Ocean Legacy Foundation, which will boost its marine debris processing capabilities and recycling capacities

One recipient of a smaller grant, software company Metaspectral, which received $313,000, published a press release describing how the funding would help it further develop its hyperspectral imaging technology for recyclables sorting. Specifically, the grant will help advance the automated sorting of homopolymer HDPE containers from copolymer HDPE. 

Metalspectral also received funding during the first round of CleanBC Plastics Action Fund grants.

Along with the latest funding announcement, the B.C. government committed another 25 million Canadian dollars (nearly $19 million) for a third round of grants. 

“This added funding will strengthen our ability to prevent plastic pollution and reduce our use of virgin resources to make plastic products by turning used plastic into an economic asset instead of an environmental burden,” George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, stated in the press release.

Michigan funds market development efforts

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) provided $15.6 million in grants to boost recycling. The 2023 awards sum is more than double what the department provided last year. 

The money flowed through a couple of different grant programs, which focused on recycling infrastructure, and market development and small-scale projects. Many of the investments dealt with collecting all curbside recyclables, but some notable ones were specific to plastics. 

For example, EGLE provided a $500,000 grant to Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, which will use the money to support its joint venture with plastics recycling company HydroBlox Technologies to recycle scrap plastics into 100% recycled stormwater management products.

EGLE also provided a $465,000 award to Waste Management (WM), which is building a large MRF in Detroit. Some of that money will go toward installing an optical sorter to target PP. 

Another $321,000 grant to Michigan Technological University will support development of a chemical recycling technology. The solvent-based technology separates specific resins, including PE, PP and PET, from landfill-bound mixed plastic streams. 

An EGLE spokesperson provided a spreadsheet with details on all the 2023 grants, some of which were discussed during an April 17 news conference

Plastics compounder Noble Polymers received a $296,000 EGLE grant to help boost its processing volumes. 

To see details on these and a host of other grants, regularly check out Resource Recycling’s online Grant Watch feature